The gleaming metal and glass 5G laboratory beingassembled on a campus at the University of Surrey,a few miles outside Guildford, speaks to Britishambitions when it comes to building the nextgeneration of mobile internet technology.
英国小镇吉尔福德(Guildford)郊外几英里处，萨里大学(University of Surrey)的校园里，人们正在组装一座由金属和玻璃建造的5G实验室。这所亮闪闪的实验室充分彰显出英国开发下一代移动互联网技术的雄心。
While many mobile phone users are only justupgrading to faster 4G networks, telecomsequipment providers are looking ahead to the next generation of mobile internet technology.
Yet companies such as Vodafone and BT have not given the university funding to develop thetechnologies out of scholarly love. They are commercial partners that have bought a stake inany future profits generated by the centre as well as the chance to use the technology.
They are not the only companies racing to develop 5G. Labs run by Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia andSamsung are working flat out to produce the precious global patents that will underpin thefuture of mobile connectivity. Most hope to have some form of the technology in testing by2018.
Ericsson believes there will be up to 50bn connected devices globally by 2022, when thetechnology is expected to start being rolled out commercially. The implications are profound.
In the 1990s, 2G became widespread and was able to support far more users and was moresecure. This allowed the sending of “text messages”, and consumers were able to roam outsideof their home country.
The early 2000s saw the emergence of 3G, which supported high-speed data services asconsumers increasingly began using broadband and the internet on mobile devices. A new breedof smartphone, capable of supporting video and mobile television, was born. From 2010, 4Gallowed operators to use spectrum more efficiently, which meant the speed of accessingmobile data were about 10 times faster than 3G.
The next generation will be about more than the mobile phone. It will be about providingconnectivity over the airwaves to billions of devices that in future will require access to theinternet, ranging from driverless cars to smart cities.